runway

 photo by @wflwong

photo by @wflwong

To someone who is all of that,

Funny how I thought of you the other day, and here, Bitches be Witches is asking individuals to send in letters they would write to their ex's. I've thought about you occasionally in the past years, but the other day I thought about what would I say to you if I had written a letter. A letter just like the ones I left every so often in the most random places for you to find. The ones that were to remind you that everything was going to be okay, to try and put a smile on your face, the ones that sent you on a treasure hunt for a gift I had left behind and just like the ones where I'd inform you of when I'd be back. If we can agree to believe that the universe works in mysterious ways, then you won't bat an eye knowing I took this opportunity to write you one on this website.

It's 2018, so it's been five years since we broke up/parted ways/realized it would be better off... or whatever we decided to call it. It’s been about four years since you randomly summoned me to Skype you, because you needed to tell me something. I remember that day because I hadn't heard from you in close to a year. I remember what you needed to tell me. It was that everything you said to me when we ended was a lie; you didn't cheat on me, you didn't hate me, you didn't tell your mother I left you for no reason. That it was all a lie because at the time you felt it was the only way to make it easier on yourself. That it helped to accept the fact our relationship was ending and it helped you walk away from it. You told me you were sorry because you realized how hard that was on me, that you couldn't bare knowing I went on in my life thinking my girlfriend had cheated on me.

 

 

I think back to that day now, and although I can appreciate it still, I also don't know what to make of it. There's a little bit of a story here. You see, you and I had met three years after our break up in some pretty extraordinary circumstances. Something that I found out upset you was: how and why was I there, working in a new country that you worked your ass off to make a name in. You were of course established in your career, marking your name on every billboard and fashion runway and were all over the TV, and I had started doing the same.

 

 

Something you don't know till this day is I had flown in for other reasons entirely. I didn't know I'd ever see you. I was escaping an emotionally toxic situation back home and wanted a break from work. I was in search of some perspective on life. I planned to come for three weeks only to do some meditation and see some long distance family I hadn't met in decades. The universe really does work in mysterious ways. It had other plans in store. This trip ended up being more than three weeks, it was three months in fact. It was the day I landed that a designer found out from my cousin I was in town. He wanted to meet, and suddenly I was whisked into a photoshoot... and then another photoshoot... and then invited to walk on stage at a fashion show. This was not a regular fashion show- it was a fashion show you were headlining, but wasn't aware of till I was there. So shit, you and I were finally meeting, something I never thought of happening. To my knowledge, after most relationships end, you don't meet the person again. I wish I could write this letter and say hey remember when we met and it was so cool that we could still be friends after all that time?--- Yeah, no, the furthest thing from that happened of course, but more on that later. For now, you might be thinking what does any of this have to do with our Skype call years prior?

 

 

See when I was there I naturally met several of your new and up-to-date friends (co-models and actors) and developed my own kinship with them as you know. It was later revealed to me that you were occasionally seeing a mutual friend of their's during the months leading up to our break up. Long story short, is was confirmed that you were indeed cheating. But honestly, I wasn't mad, or sad, or upset. How could I have been? I was literally finding out three years after the fact. The sting was not sharp at all. Blessing in disguise perhaps? "Blessing in disguise" a line we used to say to each other a lot.

 

 

Cheating as you know always meant something deep for me. I remember that my very first girlfriend back in high-school cheated on me and within months of that I had caught my father cheating on my mother red-handed. I remember telling you about this on the London Bridge late one night as we walked home from watching Iron-Man 3. It was the first time I vocalized what happened that night to anyone apart from my immediate family. It was an intense moment, I told you how rough high school was for me and you were emotionally available, and I thank you for that. To tell you the truth, I'm really not upset that you ended up doing that to me. Maybe because I was immune to people doing it in my life or immune to seeing it happen, or maybe it has to do with finding out years later, or maybe because I had already gone a full year thinking it happened, or maybe it's because that's not even why we ended our relationship to begin with.

 

 

We ended because it was getting too hard. We had a lot of obstacles. We were a seven hour flight away from each other, in the end it was a big gap. And speaking about gaps, our age gap is of seven years, our biggest obstacle (though kudos to us for crushing every critic and industry critic and lasting through all the bullshit people were saying). I was nineteen when we met, and twenty when we started dating. You were self sufficient and independent and I was living a life striving for my parent's wishes which were to become something they wanted. On the other hand, I did have a goal, a dream and something that you connected with. Which quite honestly I believe was the reason we befriended each other many years ago. I think you saw yourself in me, the common hardships we shared, the common issue of parental separation, the common outlook on life and the shared agony of no one truly understanding us.

 

 

I remember every so often we used to say to each other that because of all the obstacles a day will come when we were going to end. Though any time we tried leaving, we'd come right back. So we decided to forget the issues, and adopted the thought of "it'll come when it comes" and "lets just have fun with the moment we're in". So we did, and it had its pros and cons, but I'm glad we did-- as hard as it was. Because that allowed many things to happen. Bad and good, but I'm not in any mood to bring up the bad because... what for? I think talking about the positives is what I need these days, I've already spent many years talking about the negatives. So a positive; I found out about when you first felt love for me. It was during a really rough patch we were going through in our personal lives and we took that spontaneous trip to Rome. We had absolutely no idea what to do there, and we had gotten in super late our first night. You had gone to bed and I had gone downstairs to the concierge and with the biggest communication barrier him and I spent several hours drawing on the map of the city and devised a full four day plan of activities for us to do. I surprised you with it in the middle of the night. I also remember the time you told me you knew we weren't going to ever get married, but that I was the person you'd want to marry. That was sad, but it meant something nonetheless.

 

 

What I want to do is mention something that you might not know. You helped me leave a toxic situation just like you once did in your life and helped me take control of the wheel. I remember your words during one of my first visits. You asked me if I was ready, ready to work on what it was I wanted to work on and not anything related to what my parents wanted me to do. You told me that I was going to be there for a while, so why not start working. I started my career there in England with you, then trickling back to Toronto, and made my way to several countries and finally getting my foot in the door into acting. It's been hard work ever since.

 

 

Mind you, after our break up I slipped back into being that lost boy and blanketed myself into my family's wishes of being someone else. I find that it delayed my growth. However, it was that trip, the one I mentioned above, the one I took two years ago to find perspective in life where I finally made a decision. By the end of that trip, I made the decision to leave all things behind that I personally didn't want in my life. As of right now I know there isn't going to be any other choice I make in my career as important as leaving loved ones to pursue the things I love, especially at such a young age, and I like to think you originally helped me in doing so. It's a big deal, no matter what.

 

 

You know years later, I'm finding new ways to appreciate the times we shared. In a recent acting class exercise I was asked to demonstrate a few quick and free scenarios to find myself in bliss. So I'm asked by my coach to close my eyes. Suddenly it's the very real memory of you and I laying together in your bed, with the rare beam of London's sunlight lighting us awake through the window. We wake up finding your head on top of my chest and simultaneously telling each other; that was the best fucking nap we've ever taken. The memory isn't meant to be anything creepy, I was asked to search for bliss and my subconscious showed me a moment of bliss I had experienced in life. If i'm asked for heartbreak, I can give many examples as well.

 

 

When we met after all those years, I didn't know what to expect. But I wouldn't think we'd get into a full blown argument due to our egos clashing. You were upset I didn't get in touch with you to tell you not only I was in town, but also that we'd be working together. You felt hurt, but in that moment you forgot all those times I reached out throughout the years to see how you were doing. Truth is I was so caught up in impressing the designers and putting in hard work that it didn't cross my mind to set up any conversation with you, and before we knew it, it was too late, we bumped into each other and the assumptions started, the feelings started, the anger, the love, everything. Humans are fucking amazing that way. Two people who loved each other so deeply, can cross paths and with a mix of unvoiced feelings can either implode or explode. I hated you after that. I spent the next while laughing at the fact I ever met you, but after a long time of doing so I realized I only did that because I was hurt. I was hurt that we both couldn't just put our egos aside and say hello and have a civil conversation. To be proud of how far both of us have come in our careers. That we both are achieving what we set out to do so many years ago. We couldn't do that for each other, not even on a human level. That sucked. And that hurt. I remember a dream you told me you had of me. That you were on set of a movie shooting outside and through the crowd of crew members you saw the director leaning against the railing. All you remembered was that he was wearing a flat cap hat and was talking to his A.D's about the next shot. You told me that the director was me, that I was directing a film and that was something you wished coming true for me. Well, I've just finished my first screenplay, so that day might just be coming around the corner, and I of course look great in a flat cap.

 

 

Here it is from my end. I'm fucking proud of what you've accomplished. I'm happy with all the great work you've done and I only wish more of it. Hope we can one day sit down like mature adults and have a civilized conversation to tell each other that. Until then, here's a sort of anonymous letter.

 

 

What's in the word everything? Is it just that? Is it "all" things? The bad and the goods? In that case you were everything to me. My bliss, my breaking heart, moments of hope, a guide, a cheater, a lesson, an example, the list could go on. I certainly learned a lot, and will never regret meeting you. I get that question a lot, if I ever regret being with you. Simply put the answer is no. I haven't met another twenty year old who met someone and travelled across Canada, England, Italy, Dominican Republic and third world countries experiencing and loving life together. We've of course had our bad times, but loving life equals embracing all the bad times too, because without the bad we'd never hold any value for the good.

 

-Daniel C.

Jessica Salgueiro